In pizza, as in life, you get what you pay for
Pizza Patron, a small Dallas-based chain, is offering free pizza, with a catch. On June 5th, you may avail yourself of one large pepperoni pie at no cost, as long as you order it in Spanish.
If one cared enough to take them up on the offer, there are plenty of translators on the internet that can turn "Large pepperoni pizza. By the by, you smell of elderberries." into Spanish. The question is, why would anyone bother? Their pizza is barely a step above the shovel-ready job my dog left in the yard this morning, and several steps below shirt cardboard smeared with tomato juice and Elmer's glue. But hey, it's FREE!
You really do get what you pay for.
That said, this promotion doesn't bother me. Their business, their rules. What DOES bother me is that if someone dared to offer a promotion available only to English-speakers, all hell would break loose. There would be cries of racism, even though Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race. The Latino advocacy groups would spin themselves up so hard that they'd make a Tasmanian devil look like a calm, mellow creature.
Aren't double standards a beautiful thing?
Just to instigate trouble, I am going to ask the proprietors of my favorite local pizza shop to run a similar promotion, but with English as the language of ordering. The place in question is run by several lovely gentlemen from Italy. They came to America, learned English, and opened a pizza parlor, not necessarily in that order. They, like my immigrant grandparents from Lwów, were proud to learn the language of their adopted country. Not a one of the pizza boys speaks Spanish for "business" purposes. They might take your order in Italian, notwithstanding that they conduct their business in ENGLISH.
Is there something wrong with thinking that everyone speaking the same language is a unifying force in a country? Apparently so, because the Spanish-only speakers will assemble their very best slang to call you something approximating a "racist intolerant bigoted Nazi." (Somebody needs to tell these folks that once you call someone a Nazi, you've lost the debate.) What's wrong, they stridently inquire, with knowing a second language?
Not a doggone thing. I speak French with what has been described as a completely hideous American accent. I am working on my Polish, the language of my ancestors, and German, the language of my very cool friend in Germany as well as an amazing 98 year old lady who loves hanging out with me. When I am done with that, I'm going to learn Korean, because I have some excellent study materials and a great Korean sister-in-law.
Spanish is nowhere on my radar. It is completely useless. I would learn the language of the Maori before I would learn Spanish.
Yup, I said useless. Want to know why? Because I know a fellow who speaks "real" Spanish, as in, from Spain. From him I learned that Spanish, spoken well, is a beautiful language. And yet, he cannot understand the mangled Spanish of the Phoenix locals AT ALL. I'm all for accents and dialects and whatever, but trash Spanish and "ebonics" and all those other destructions of wonderful languages have no business purpose, and little social purpose. I don't believe my life is going to be less rich and fulfilling because I cannot communicate with the guy that's hired to push the lawnmower or the gal rolling up the tamales.
In America, the cream of the crop professional jobs go to those who speak English. (You get bonus points for speaking it really well. Trust me on this. I will never regret idolizing William F. Buckley as a child.) And the rest of the jobs pay for squat. You do get some sort of uptick in your pathetic hourly wage for speaking Spanish if you work at a call center, but realistically, you're still working at a call center. That is rarely a stop on the road to greatness.
If we had the political will, we could kill all this drama once and for all. Congress could declare that English is the official language of the United States of America. We could toss in a Constitutional amendment for good measure.
Oddly, we lack that political will. We can look at all the countries that have tried "multiculturalism" and see the results, but our feckless... Oops, I mean fearless, leaders refuse to do anything about it. That's the downside of a bunch of politicians who can pander way better than they can pilot this presumptively doomed plane.
I don't care what language people conduct their personal business in. But it is my belief that the government should pick one language to do its thing, and figure out a way to make it stick. Yes, there will be some heartburn and screaming. And yes, it will be worth it in the end.
Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, I won't be ordering a free bad pizza with a side of stinky elderberries from Pizza Patron, in Spanish or any other language. Bad pizza is worse than bad just about anything else.